Frequently Asked Questions about outside burning

Q: What materials can be burned with a fire permit? 

A: Permissible materials are clean, untreated wood and brush 5” diameter or less. No combustible domestic waste, treated wood or composite materials may be burned. RSA-125N defines “combustible domestic waste” as, but not limited to, household trash, packaging materials, plastics, coated or laminated papers, rubber, painted or treated wood, coated or treated cardboard, oily rags, and animal, vegetable, and kitchen waste.” 

Q: How close to a structure can I kindle my fire? 

A: A category I fire must be at least 25’ from structures and category II or greater fire must be at least 50’ from structures. 

Q: When can I kindle my fire? 

A: A category I fire may be kindled with a permit at any time whether raining or not. A category II and category III fire may only be kindled with a permit between the hours of 5:00 pm and 9:00 am unless it is actually raining. 

Q: If I started my category II or III fire while it was raining and it stops raining do I have to extinguish the fire? 

A: Yes! The fire must be extinguished and you will need to wait until after 5:00 pm to kindle it again. 

Q: Do you own the land where you plan to burn? 

A: If not, you must have written landowner approval in order to receive a fire permit or furnish proof that you are a legal agent for the landowner. 

Q: Who can burn a demolished building? 

A: On-site burning of untreated wood by the owner of a private, single family residence occupied by the owner, is allowed, provided that the material originates on-site. In addition, the NH Department of Environmental Services has rules that must be followed regarding the testing and abatement of asbestos prior to demolishing any structure. Contact NH DES-Air Resources Division at 603-271- 1370 for additional information. 

Q:  Do you have adequate resources to control and completely extinguish your fire? 

A: The permittee shall have sufficient water, tools and personnel necessary to control and completely extinguish the fire. A buried fire is not an extinguished fire. 

Q: Can I use tires or tubes to start my fire? 

A: No! The NH DES has adopted rules that absolutely prohibit the burning of tires. 

Q: How old do I have to be in order to obtain a fire permit? 

A: You must be at least 18 years old to obtain a fire permit. 


For More Information

For more information please contact your local Forest Fire Warden, local Fire Station, or Forest Ranger. More information on the NH laws on burning can be found in RSA 227-L.